In Massachusetts, a vehicle can be declared as salvage for a number of reasons, such as damage and theft. The insurance companies declare the vehicle to be a total loss, but that does not mean that the car needs to go to the junkyard. In many cases, depending on the title brand, it is possible to repair the vehicle and get a rebuilt title.
Title Brands in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, there are four different title designations for vehicles that have been deemed salvage.
A Salvage title is the “standard”, which is used when a vehicle has been declared a total loss and not able to be repaired. This means it can only be sold for scrap.
An Owner Retained title means that the owner is keeping the vehicle after the insurance company decided that it was a total loss. To get this type of title, the vehicle was declared a total loss by the insurance company, but it is still safe enough to operate on the roads. The owner needs to keep the vehicle registered, but there could be issues when it comes to getting insurance with this type of title. Getting liability should be possible, but finding insurance companies that offer comprehensive and collision can be more difficult.
A Recovered Theft title is required if a stolen vehicle that was determined to be salvage by the insurance company has been recovered, repaired, and re-titled to drive.
A Repairable title is provided to salvage vehicles that can be repaired and that can get back on the road. When you have this type of title, you will not be able to drive the vehicle until you repair the vehicle and go through the other steps required to get a rebuilt title. After going through the inspection, it can receive a reconstructed or recovered theft title as the case may be.
Getting a New Title to Get the Vehicle on the Road
When you have a vehicle that is repairable, you can complete all of the repairs needed to get it back in roadworthy shape. After you complete the repairs, you will then need to get the vehicle inspected.
The salvage inspection ensures that none of the parts used in the reconstruction of the vehicle, or the vehicle itself, have been stolen. The current fee for the inspection is $50, and you need to apply through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for the inspection.
You need to fill out an Application for Inspection of a Salvaged Motor Vehicle (Form T20541) and provide all of the following information. You need to have the current salvage title, as well as an appraisal from the insurance company, and the receipt from the RMV for the inspection.
Also, you have to have the bills of sale from all of the major parts that were used to restore the vehicle. If you have any used parts that go into the construction, you need to have the VIN number from the vehicle in which those parts originated.
You will need to bring all of this information to the RMV office for the salvage inspection, which are conducted by the Massachusetts State Police on a walk-in basis. You can check the RMV offices to find out their current schedule.
After you pass this inspection, you will then be able to get a new title for the vehicle, and you can then register the vehicle to take it out on the road, if you have insurance coverage.
Keep in mind that the salvage brand will always be associated with the title. This is to make sure that anyone who buys the vehicle in the future understands that they are buying a salvage vehicle.